The CRPD is an international human rights treaty focused on protecting the rights of people with disabilities. Some of the rights it is meant to protect include: equality before the law without discrimination; freedom from torture; right to live in the community; respect for home and the family; right to education; right to health; right to work; right to an adequate standard of living; right to participate in political and public life. The CRPD needs to be ratified by 20 countries before it can take full legal force.
For citizens who feel their rights have been violated under the CRPD, the Optional Protocol will give them one more way to obtain redress. If national-level channels of justice (e.g., court systems) fail to protect the rights of disabled people, then disabled people in countries that have ratified the Optional Protocol would be able to bring petitions to an international Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Committee is a body of independent experts that will review how different countries implement the CRPD.
There are several other international instruments that are used to help protect the rights of people with disabilities. These include the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons; the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons; the Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and the Improvement of Mental Health Care (1991); and the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (1993). However, the CRPD and the Optional Protocol are the first instruments for disability rights that would be legally binding.
More information on the CRPD and the Optional Protocol is available at United Nation’s Enable website. Another web site, www.RatifyNow.org has information, toolkits, and resources that advocates and organizations can use to encourage their country governments to ratify and implement the CRPD and Optional Protocol.
We Can Do first learned about Peru’s ratification of the CRPD through the RatifyNow mailing list. People may join the mailing list, or become a member of RatifyNow, for free.
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Human rights advocates now have two new tools at icrpd.net to help them ensure that the rights of disabled people are better protected in countries around the world through the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Most readers of this blog know either through first-hand experience or through observation that even the most basic human rights of people with disabilities are routinely violated. In countries rich and poor, disabled people who could have lived independently with the appropriate support system are instead locked up in institutions, have their teeth removed, are forcibly restrained or even murdered for “their own good.” In many countries, but particularly developing countries, lack of knowledge, information, and resources keep disabled children out of
school and disabled adults out of vocational and micro-entrepreneurial
The recent United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an important first step toward correcting these injustices. The good news is that, so far, 102 out of 191 UN members have signed the convention. But signing the convention does not, by itself, protect disabled people from human rights violations. Two important steps still need to happen next. After signing the convention, a country must also ratify it. And after ratifying it, the country must then implement the
Disabled People International has developed two toolkits, available at icrpd.net, that activists, advocates, and allies can use to ensure that their country, too, ratifies and then implements the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Both resources are available in English, Spanish,
and French and can either be read on-line or downloaded in Word or PDF format.
People commonly believe that simply signing a convention ratifies it, but it does not. According to DPI’s CRPD Ratification Toolkit, signing the convention is a country’s way of saying that it agrees with the main idea of the convention–but without legally binding itself to comply with the convention. The convention only becomes legally binding (i.e., the country has to follow it) when a country ratifies it.
So far, five countries have ratified the CRPD: Jamaica (March 30 ’07); Hungary (July 20 ’07); Panama (August 7 ’07); Croatia (August 15 ’07); and Cuba (September 6 ’07). If your country is not in the previous sentence, then it had not yet ratified the convention as of September 11.
The first of the two toolkits from DPI is meant to help activists guide their country toward ratifying the CRPD. The ratification toolkit explains the UN disability convention and why it is needed and how activists can get the UN disability convention ratified in their country. The toolkit includes interactive learning exercises for
the members of your group.
If you are living in one of the five countries that has ratified the convention–congratulations. You are now ready to start using the implementation toolkit. “Implementation” is what brings a convention to life. Until a convention is implemented, a convention is just words on paper. Implementing the convention means that your country is taking action to ensure that the rights of disabled people are protected and respected.
DPI’s implementation toolkit explains some of the history behind the convention; the structure of the convention and how to understand it better; and how to ensure that your country implements the convention.
If you have used either of these toolkits (www.icrpd.net) please share your feedback here. Your thoughts and comments may help other people who are considering using them.
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